In Georgia, misdemeanor offenses, such as DUI, possession of marijuana, domestic violence, and shoplifting are taken extremely seriously. Many of these offenses have collateral consequences that can affect your driving privileges and stay on your criminal background for life. In addition, this type of charge might have strong implications in every area of your life, including your work and family life. Fortunately, there are many proactive steps that you can take to fight these types of charges and protect your rights.
Unlike in other states, each misdemeanor in Georgia is punishable by the same penalty, unless otherwise defined: a fine of no more than $1,000 or imprisonment in a county jail or correctional institution for no more than twelve months; both; or confinement under the Board of Corrections jurisdiction in a county or state correctional institution or other institution as directed by the Department of Corrections for more than six months but no more than twelve months.
A fine and jail time may be imposed at times, but only one may be imposed depending on the sentencing judge. Suspension and probation are both misdemeanor penalties in Georgia. The court has the authority to change a sentence, but the Board of Corrections will not allow any changes to an existing sentence.
Criminal offenses are classified into seven categories, with severity and circumstances varying. Individuals can be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony under these provisions.
Serious Traffic Offenses in Georgia
Multiple DUI convictions can result in increased charges known as serious traffic violations. When involved in a traffic accident that results in the death of another, these can escalate from a misdemeanor to a felony.
Property crimes classified as misdemeanors include theft and shoplifting of $300 or less. When there is burglary, arson, forgery, or robbery, this becomes a felony.
Georgia Sex Offenses
Sexual batter, indecent exposure, and pandering are all misdemeanor sex crimes. Child molestation, possession of child pornography, and rape are examples of felony sex crimes. Punishment increases in accordance.
Violent Crimes in Georgia
Violent crimes include any act of violence directed at another person, whether verbally, mentally, or physically. Examples of misdemeanors include battery, assault, and stalking. Manslaughter, murder, and aggravated assault are all felonies.
Georgia Drug offenses
Drug offenses revolve around the distribution, possession, and sale of illegal drugs. In this category, the difference between a felony and a misdemeanor conviction is determined by the amount and weight of the drug.
Crimes Against Public Order or Administration
Public order crimes include offenses against a government institution or a public official, as well as breaches of public peace. Misdemeanor offenses include public intoxication, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct. Treason, oath violation, and violent obstruction of a police officer are all felonies.
Domestic Violence Offenses
Domestic violence offenses are misdemeanors treated as felonies when committed against a spouse, child, or close family member. Once the prosecution has begun, these charges cannot be dropped. The severity of the crime determines the severity of the punishment.
Misdemeanor Expungement in Georgia
Criminal records, including records of charges and arrests, can be sealed. Before seeking expungement, a certain amount of time must pass, and only those who have not been convicted are eligible. When making a decision, the court will consider the gravity of the crime as well as the individual’s age. Those who were under the age of eighteen at the time of the crime are frequently exonerated, regardless of the charges.
Misdemeanors in Juvenile Court
If an individual is between the ages of sixteen and eighteen at the time of the crime and is found guilty, he or she will face confinement under the jurisdiction of the Board of Corrections for no more than twelve months or a fine of no more than one thousand dollars.
If your child has been charged with a crime in a Georgia Juvenile Court, it is important to secure legal counsel because the juvenile court system moves at a fast pace and the rules are very different. We are well-versed and experienced in the juvenile court system and work with you are your family to make sure that everyone understands the process for the “sealing” of a juvenile record. This process is not automatic in every case, and it is imperative to ensure that the proper steps are taken. We focus on a “family-centered” approach because we know that the juvenile courts appreciate and welcome the support of the entire family as a united front on behalf of the child. We also represent youth and teens at both public and private disciplinary hearings.